Cut Back and Bolster your Bottom Line

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a stack of pancakes in front of  man sitting at a table
Where can you cut back?

The latest jobs report has been less encouraging than we’d like, and many Americans continue to look for work while cutting back on spending. A great many DJs are still feeling the pain, and many are seeking ways to cut back on their expenses without sacrificing service, or, worse, dropping their prices.

Here are some ways to do it:

* Show clients ways they can reduce their costs. This is a great way to build goodwill. Find out how much your brides are paying for flowers or for a limo, for example, and offer cheaper options if they are available. Always be alert for cost-cutting solutions and be sure to let clients know that this is how you’re working for them.

* Be patient. Do you ever get twice-weekly e-mail blasts from companies? Seems desperate, right? It is. Acting rushed sends customers the message that you’re panicked. We don’t see it as much in ourselves as we do in others. It’s time to nurture customers, not bombard them.

* Prospect, prospect, prospect. Identify potential clients who fit the profile of your best customers and start staying in touch with them via opt-in e-mail or direct mail. Let them know that you’re serious, competent, and can help them. It will pay off over time.

* Work your referrals, the low-cost way to get new clients. Systematize the process and then let staff and clients know how to make referrals and what reward there will be for them.

* Send e-mail blasts where previously you would have sent snail-mail.

* Use YouTube. Unlike TV, online video is an affordable way to reach millions of viewers. Post a snippet of a party where you filled the floor or led an interactive dance. You know you shined at that last wedding—make sure everyone else does, too.

* Split your promotional costs with another vendor. Instead of ponying up the cash for the full tab, think about co-opting with a non-competing business—a flower shop, tuxedo store, limo service, etc. Also, take advantage of volume discounts by partnering with these vendors to buy office supplies, furniture and equipment.

* Do a free gig. The wisdom of charity events has long been debated. But now is the time to seek out these events through your local Chamber of Commerce and do a free gig. Why? It sends the message that you’ve got the time and the heart.

* Go for coffee. Face-time with other vendors or catering hall managers is more important now than ever. But if you previously took vendors out to dinner, take them out to lunch instead. If you typically take them to lunch, meet for coffee.

* Chat online. The cheapest way to expose your company to potential clients is to find newsgroups that appeal to your target markets and start chatting—in a local wedding chat room, for example. Include your URL in your signature and then offer helpful tips that might direct traffic to your website.

* Lose the fax machine. Unless your fax works on a VoIP line, it likely incurs long-distance charges. Most documents can be sent more cost-effectively as e-mail attachments or by making them available as an FTP.

* Conserve computing power. Computers are energy hogs, even when they are not being used. Take advantage of any energy-saving settings. Ban screen savers, and ask your staff to use the “sleep” function instead.

* Change your travel schedule that allow for better fares. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are traditionally cheaper days to fly. Also, it’s often less expensive to catch a later flight back; so, for example, opt for 8 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.

* Review your portfolio of employee benefits. You may be paying for perks that your DJs aren’t using.